the further adventures of

Mike Pirnat

a leaf on the wind

Jonathan Lewis: Writing Optimal SQL

The office sprung for a bunch of us to attend Jonathan Lewis's "Writing Optimal SQL" seminar, put on by the nice folks at NEOOUG (that'd be the Northeast Ohio Oracle Users Group, for those playing acronym bingo at home), so I had a nice and brain-meltingly interesting Friday away from the office. Lewis really impressed me as a speaker, weaving deep and potentially lethally sleep-inducing concepts in with real-world horror stories, pithy remarks, good cheer, and a charming sense of humor that made eight hours of database guts and gore seem like a good time. Thankfully, we all received copies of the slides, so I will have something besides my half-dazed chicken-scratch notes to spur my memory. Lewis described many problem scenarios that were uncannily similar to design mistakes that we've made--some of mine in particular (I don't pretend to be a database guru, just a humble Python developer)--and I was quite excited to be turned on to so many new ideas for potential solutions to real problems that we've been wrestling with. There are a number of very useful gems, like how to coax Oracle into executing your subqueries first rather than last, as well as a number of undocumented hints that are very promising. I suspect I may have to start keeping tabs on his blog as well...

On the swag front, I scored a free copy of his book, Cost-Based Oracle Fundamentals (signed!), a T-shirt ("Save the Database, Save the World"), and a lovely rubber ball which strobes red and blue LEDs when bounced (ooo, shiny!). One of my co-workers won a chair.

The weather was fantastic, so once the event wrapped up, we had a nice walk through my old north-side CWRU stomping grounds and had a few rounds at the Barking Spider (which, oddly, I'd never actually visited while I was a student, being underage the entire time I lived on campus).

All in all, a great way to finish out the week. Hooray for boondoggles! :-)

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In Which the Smallness of the World Is Demonstrated

After work last night, Liz and I popped over to Mitchell's Fish Market to join in the farewell party for a friend of ours (Michelle, with whom we recently lunched while visiting New Jersey) who's been a regular in our little wine group. Never in a million years would I have expected the collected party-goers and well-wishers to include Jen Watson, a friend of mine from CWRU days that I hadn't seen or heard from in six and a half years. It turns out I've been drinking wine and talking about books for months with her step-mom, who's part of the wine group! Despite being stunned by the shocking randomness of it all, we had a lovely conversation and enjoyed the chance to catch up.

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Case Western Reserve University Still Hates Me (And Possibly You Too)

Received this via email this morning...

Dear Friend of Case:

Our records indicate that you hold a Case Network ID from a past association with Case Western Reserve University. Your association might have been as a student, staff, or faculty member.

In recent years, along with many other educational institutions, Case has experienced a proliferation of network IDs. Currently, over 37,000 network IDs are associated with persons who no longer work, study, or teach at Case. To alleviate and manage the significant storage and maintenance issues associated with these IDs, it is necessary to disable these accounts. In line with this university policy, your network account will be de-activated on December 17, 2004.

If you are a Case Western Reserve University alum, please note that you are entitled to a Case Online Services account which provides access to an email forwarding identity (i.e,, the alumni directory, on-campus newsgroups, as well as discounts on goods and services. To learn more about this alumni package, and to establish an alumni account, please go to the Case Alumni website at .

If you believe this notice has been sent to you in error, please contact the Case Help Desk at 216-368-HELP (4357).

Thank you for your attention and understanding on this matter.

Network Account Management System
Case Western Reserve University

So much for the umpteen million promises that alumni could keep their email addresses for life (for forwarding purposes, etc.). Thanks, Case, I'll remember this the next time you come sucking up to me for money. Biatches.

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Once More Unto the Breach

Welcome back, sports fans! Having slept for a few hours and enjoyed a tasty dinner, I've tucked the wife into bed and returned to the office to run some programs through the night, to be followed by a day of monitoring the health of the server farm. I hope to be able to crash for a few hours at some point between the bits I have to do in the next couple of hours and when my real shift begins at 0800, but we'll have to see how that turns out.

I brought my lion slippers, in case anyone remembers them from CWRU days of yore. :-)

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One of us, one of us...

Mad props to old-skool CWRU studs [info]mokatz, for turning me on to livejournal, and [info]sam16, for the invite code (preciousssssss...). Shout-outs to [info]gieves too. (Hi!)

So now I have a nifty-swifty journal thing, and no time to do anything with it (packing tonight, in meetings all day tomorrow, out of town all weekend). What a great addition to the hypothetical community.

At least now I can stop posting anonymously. Woo!!

More to come. Really.

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